Sunday, May 03, 2015


Study Day

A day without a swim is like a tortoise without his lettuice – there is something missing and wrong with the world.  Well, I went without my customary swim in the interests of getting to Camden Town on time for the Study Day.
            It turns out that my abortive attempt to go to the wrong place on the wrong day on Friday saved me the panic of finding out that all my so-called careful planning would have been to no avail and then I would have had to have panicked in real earnest when I found out that I was in Kings Cross and that the OU centre was nowhere near!
            However, that did not happen and I got to the centre in very good time, indeed I was the first person there – even beating the tutor though she, to be fair, had gone to get a breakfast cup of coffee before the start.
            The Day went well and it was fascinating to hear the art choices that the other students had made for their end of module assessments – ranging from Jeff Koons’ Hoover vacuum cleaner to Aboriginal Art!
            We were given valuable practical advice from the tutor and the Day passed quickly and enjoyably.
            One disturbing element was that we found out that tutors are not paid for these Study Days, they are given expenses for travel and accommodation but not paid for their tutoring!  This was something of a shock and is yet another example of how the OU is pressed for cash.
            The cost of a 60 module course nowadays is two thousand seven hundred quid!  I was a dammned sigh more shocked to find out that students in Northern Ireland were paying a quarter of that price!  Indeed I seemed to be the only person paying the full wack.  The others were paying ‘transition’ fees as they had started their degrees within the last few years and so were not socked with the new full amounts.  I did think for one moment that I would be eligible for lower fees as I had already started my OU studies – but it turned out that the 70s was an era too far away to qualify!
            As long as this year goes as it should and I successfully complete the course on the Renaissance next year, I will finally have completed my degree some forty years after starting it!  Slow and steady etc.

I was stymied in my attempts to go for a swim after the Day by finding that my ‘local’ pool had closed at half past five.  Further enquiries elicited the response that all other pools owned by Camden would be closed as well.
            By way of compensation I went into the concourse M&S in St Pancras and bought whatever took my fancy for a slap up meal in the hotel room.  It cost a fortune, but then what hasn’t in London, and was delicious: smoked salmon and spicy dressed crab accompanied by layered homous – and that was only part of it.  And part of me is appreciative of the fact that I eschewed the opportunity to buy overpriced red wine and settled for tap water!
            An earlyish bed time and I arose, aching in every joint to greet a grey, damp depressing day – as of course befits a British Bank Holiday.
            Well, I do not intend to spend my time on the outside, I will flee to the more comfortable (and considerably drier) surroundings of a few of our Great Galleries!
            Bring the Culture ON!
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